Supplier Data 101

These critical mistakes are leading to poor procurement data quality

By Connie Jensen

You might ignore scheduling your next dreaded dentist appointment or unlisted phone calls you know are spam–but as a procurement professional, ignoring the quality of your data can be detrimental to the success of your organization. Poor procurement data quality can lead to significant operational inefficiencies, cost overruns, and missed opportunities. 

Let’s explore the impact of ignoring your procurement data and why maintaining high-quality data is crucial for success.

Understanding the importance of procurement data quality

Data quality refers to the completeness, validity, consistency, and timeliness of data. In the context of procurement, this means having current information about suppliers, including their performance metrics, compliance status, and contact details. High-quality procurement data is the backbone of effective procurement strategies, enabling professionals to make informed decisions, mitigate risks, and capitalize on opportunities.

Dimensions of Procurement Data Quality

  • Completeness: Ensuring all necessary supplier information is captured and readily available.
  • Validity: Making sure data conforms to predefined formats and standards relevant to procurement activities.
  • Consistency: Maintaining uniformity in how supplier information is recorded and stored (ex. Having a documented taxonomy).
  • Timeliness: Knowing you can access the most up-to-date supplier information when making procurement decisions.

The cost of poor procurement data quality

Poor procurement data quality significantly impacts procurement teams in various ways, affecting their daily operations and strategic decision-making. The repercussions of relying on inadequate data are multifaceted, encompassing financial, operational, and relational aspects of business.

Elevated procurement costs: The foundation of effective procurement is making informed decisions based on trusted data. When procurement data is flawed, procurement teams face higher costs due to inefficient supplier selection, the necessity of emergency sourcing, and potential penalties for not meeting contractual obligations. 

For example, if a purchase order is sent to the wrong address due to outdated supplier data, the delivery of essential components could be delayed. This delay might force a company to expedite shipping from another supplier at a higher cost to meet production deadlines.

Increased operational inefficiency: A considerable amount of time is squandered in searching for alternative suppliers, and rectifying errors caused by poor quality procurement data. This inefficiency detracts from strategic tasks, such as negotiating better terms or exploring cost-saving opportunities.

For example, without reliable data at hand, a procurement resource might spend hours searching and comparing various internal systems for the correct address to put on a PO.

Frequent supply chain disruptions: Poor quality procurement data can lead to incorrect assumptions about supplier reliability and capacity, resulting in stock shortages or excess inventory. These issues directly affect the company’s ability to meet customer demands promptly, potentially harming its reputation and sales.

Reduced competitive advantage: Unreliable supplier data hampers the procurement team’s ability to negotiate effectively, leading to less favorable terms and conditions. It also restricts the ability to quickly pivot in response to market changes, reducing agility and competitive edge.

Significant financial impact: The financial repercussions of poor data management are profound. Organizations can incur significant losses due to operational inefficiencies, missed savings opportunities, and unsatisfactory contract negotiations.

Poor quality procurement data places a heavy burden on procurement teams, and addressing these challenges requires a concerted effort to improve data validity, enhance supplier relationships, and implement robust data management systems.

Strategies for improving procurement data quality

Improving the quality of your supplier data doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Here are some strategies based on proven data quality management practices:

Leverage a supplier data foundation: A supplier data foundation automates the collection, verification, and enrichment of supplier data across an organization’s data lakes and systems. Instead of spending time and resources on manual data management, every system across the organization is automatically enriched with the same data. This approach optimizes processes, reduces costs and enhances routine procurement tasks, like spend reporting.

Enforce supplier master data management (SMDM): Implementing an SMDM strategy that is used by everyone can help standardize and govern your supplier data across the organization, ensuring consistency and reliability.

Implement data governance policies: Establish clear policies and procedures for managing supplier data, including how it is collected, stored, and updated. This ensures adherence to data quality standards and supports strategic business objectives by enabling a clearer view of supplier relationships and opportunities for optimization or innovation within the supply chain.

The payoff of high-quality procurement data

Investing in the quality of your data pays dividends across various facets of procurement, including:

  • Risk mitigation: Quality supplier data enables procurement professionals to identify and address potential risks proactively, such as compliance issues or supply chain disruptions.
  • Cost savings: High-quality data reduces the likelihood of errors and inefficiencies, leading to significant cost savings in procurement operations.
  • Strategic sourcing: With reliable supplier data at their fingertips, procurement teams can make informed decisions about sourcing strategies, supplier selection, and contract negotiations.
  • Supplier relationship management: Up-to-date and complete supplier data fosters stronger relationships, facilitating better communication, collaboration, and performance monitoring.

Ignoring the quality of your procurement data can be a costly mistake. By recognizing the importance of data quality and implementing strategies to maintain high standards, procurement teams can enhance operational efficiency, mitigate risks, and drive strategic value for their organizations.

Unleash procurement possibilities.

Whether you’re looking to maximize diversity spend, optimize supplier diversification, or identify emergency sourcing options, the best available supplier data makes all the difference.

man with tablet